By: JaCee Aaseth
Showing cattle has always been a hobby of my family’s. I started showing when I was six years old and it stuck with me for 14 years. I never imagined I would still be this interested in a hobby I started when I was six, but really, it’s much more than a hobby, it’s an opportunity to get our family’s name out there in the cattle business. When I realized that, what I once considered a hobby soon turned into my way of life.
I started showing cattle in our local 4-H club, and eventually became an active member in FFA (Future
Farmers of America), the North Dakota Junior Point Show Association and the North Dakota Club Calf Association. The North Dakota Junior Point Show Association schedules shows every weekend in the summer, and my family attends as many of these as possible with our calves. At the end of the year, the person who has had success by gaining the most points from winning the shows and attending the most shows receives large prizes. For example, those who have the Grand Champion Steer and Supreme Heifer receive show boxes they use to store their show gear and products. They also award participation prizes for those who do not win, but attend a majority of the shows. All of these shows take place at the county fairs across the state. They are a great way to take your cattle out and get them used to the loud noises before the “big show,” the North Dakota State Fair. My family and I started participating in these shows about five years ago. It has truly been one of the best experiences of my cattle showing career.
Every year, my family takes our calves to the State Fair and camps there for the duration of the fair – a full nine days! The State Fair is every showman’s one chance each summer to compete against livestock from across the state. I have been showing at the State Fair for 10 years, and each year is a new beginning for the livestock industry.
Many people ask me why I put the time and money into this hobby. My answer is simple; showing cattle at the State Fair is more than just showing cattle. Through the years I have gained responsibility, knowledge of the changing livestock industry, as well as meeting new people that become lifelong friends. Unfortunately, this will be my last year competing at the State Fair because I will be turning 21 this summer and that is the cut off age for participating in the North Dakota Junior Point Show. I am still able to compete at the fair’s open show, but instead I will be taking the time to focus on my career and other opportunities that lie ahead. I am lucky enough to have a younger brother who shares my passion for the livestock industry and will continue to show cattle for the next six years.
Being a part of these cattle showing groups and attending the State Fair every year has helped me learn a lot about North Dakota’s livestock industry, as well as the agriculture industry as a whole. This is not a
hobby I thought would stick with me for all these years, but it definitely has, and I cannot wait to start getting younger generations more involved because that is what it is all about.